When Johan Woerheide received an invitation to take part in the 2007 Festival of Speed his first reaction was to call and ask me what it was all about and whether he should accept. If the loudness of my response wasn’t sufficient to convince him I am certain my reduction to gibbering fool status probably was. He accepted, of course and many phone calls about what to bring , and wear, and buy later, the car was loaded and on it’s way.
This is not just any car of course, Goodwood don’t do ordinary cars. Johan’s Lola T70 Mkll will remain forever the only Ford engined car to win a Can Am race. At Bridgehampton NY. In September 1966 Dan Gurney immortalized this car by beating Chris Amon’s McLaren by a cars length. At the time it probably meant little as that was only the second ever Can Am race. However Fords’ success in Can Am did not extend past that weekend as the Chevrolet steamroller ground all others into the tarmac – until they in turn were ground down by the Porsche turbo brigade.
With plans made and the car on it’s way a major surprise popped up when I received drivers details from the organizers. Thinking the mail had been wrongly addressed I called Goodwood, to be told I was entered as co-driver for the weekend.
As I said at the beginning, dreams do come true. It just seemed that all of mine had come through on the same day!
As if entertaining Johan and his delightful wife Catherine and driving in the hillclimb was not sufficient to do on one weekend, Lola Cars had taken a late decision to have a hospitality marquee and invite Sir Jackie Stewart to drive Martin Birrane’s recently acquired Lola T92 USAC car. Now the weekend was beginning to look extremely crowded.
As written about HERE on the site two Lola USAC cars appeared at the Festival and inspired a reunion between Sir Jackie Stewart and Al Unser Snr., Mecom Racing teamates at the ‘Brickyard’ in 1967.
And then the rain came! As will be obvious from the photos the weather played a major part in the weekends events, eventually causing abandonment of the hillclimb runs during Sunday afternoon.
Despite the wretched weather the weekend had it’s lighter moments and coincided with an unnumbered birthday - cake all round.
(Note from the Webmaster: I understand that the Goodwood organisers requested that candles were not put on the cake as the potential fire hazard involved would infringe Health and Safety regulations.)
Almost as soon as it had begun the dream was over. Sunday was cut short when the driver in front of me thought he was in a Grand Prix and finished up having an accident which caused the runs to be abandoned. Do I feel bad – you bet I do. I wanted to enjoy every millisecond of that opportunity. But there you go and before you know it everyone is going home.
I will never be able to express properly my gratitude to Johan and Catherine for their generosity in allowing me to share the event with them. This ‘thank you’ is small change compared to the thrill and excitement I enjoyed. I just hope they were sufficiently well hosted and entertained to feel it will be worth coming back another year.